Monday, 18 July 2011


The door slams shut as Ewan's mum leaves the house.

It takes him a few minutes to process the noise she made, the aggression with which she has closed the door.  For a brief moment he wonders if she was crying when she went.  He would never know, he hadn't looked her in the eye as she said goodbye, he couldn't look anyone in the eye at the moment, he was too frightened at seeing people's reaction to him, to it, the awful thing that had happened.

Left on his own, he unpacks his things, checking he has everything he will need.  He gets down on his knees in the living room  amongst his belongings and re-arranges, re-folds socks, makes sure his pills are there, wondering if he will need to use his Swiss army knife - after much thought, his hand hovering over the opening to his backpack - he shoves it down into the bottom of the bag, just in case.

Packing complete, he walks through every room in the flat, checking there is nothing of importance left behind.  In the bedroom he looks out of the window onto the communal garden and wonders, if he jumped, if the grass below would cushion his fall from the second floor or if he would die.  He decides that he would probably die and that it would hurt.

Ewan is imagining the feeling of the wind rushing past his face as he throws himself towards the earth when his mother returns laden with carrier bags.  He takes charge of what she is carrying and dumps the shopping on the kitchen floor.

"Mum, this isn't all for me is it?

"Well, I don't want you to go hungry.  Plus, the cupboards were looking bare.  She obviously wasn't keeping a good job of looking after you."

A sharp look crosses from Ewan to his mum.  She doesn't register it.

"When you're gone, do you want me to get rid of the rest of her things?"

"Mum, she's been gone a week, it's too soon."

For a few moments nothing is said, Ewan's mum busies herself by putting things in cupboards.  Once there is nothing left to be put away she breaks the silence.

"Will you be back for the funeral?"

"I don't know...  I don't think so...  I'm not sure."

"You'll regret not going."


The car is filled with its familiar fragrance, a mixture of the air freshener she'd bought to get rid of the odour of his football kit and her perfume.  He breathes it in, it is both comforting and nauseating.

Ewan focuses on the road as he moves further out of the city, the landscape is unfamiliar, less memories are attached to it, less things remind him of her.

There is no particular plan of where to go,  he is just hoping somewhere will seem right.  Eventually he does, a secluded spot with a view of green rolling hills and a clear blue lake.  It looks like a postcard, like an illustration in a book, like a fantasy, like something that can't possibly exist when all his thoughts are wretched.

The tent is taken from the car boot, he sticks the poles into the ground, concentrating on building a steady structure.  The irony is not lost on him that he is constructing a safe structure to protect him from the elements in the countryside while his real-life back in the city had fallen apart.

The tent is built and Ewan sits inside it, alone.

After a while, emptiness presents itself, his stomach rumbles in hunger.  Rooting  around in the tent through the packets and tins his mother bought a few hours ago, he eventually finds something that takes his fancy.  The tranquillity is punctured as Ewan noisily crunches and chews an entire packet of ready salted crisps.

There is nothing else to do but sit and look at the view.  He isn't sure how long he sits there.

The bottle of whisky Ewan bought before he got on the motorway sits in the corner of the tent, next to the pills he'd stashed at the bottom of his bag.   If he took the lot and drank the bottle he'd be able to join her.  The beauty of the scenery would be a nice juxtaposition to his untimely death.

It starts to rain, he gets inside the tent and listens to the pitter patter of the raindrops against the tent.  They pepper the canvas with polka dots, of where the rain has landed.  The noise transforms him to their bedroom, listening to the rain bouncing off the window, rattling on the roof while they were snuggled in bed together.  Ewan struggles to get into his sleeping bag to keep warm.

The first thing Ewan knows about having slept, is when he wakes up to the sun brightening the inside of his tent.  It was the first time he'd had a full night's sleep since the phone call with the news.  The sleep was what he had needed, he feels refreshed, healed.

He had been anxious that she would haunt his dreams, but she hadn't.  Ewan was pleased she had not visited, had not found him here, he had escaped.

No comments:

Post a Comment